Most of people who chooses to spend their holidays in Cuba want to enjoy a bit of the famous Caribbean beaches. White sand, palm trees and warm blue water is something we crave for. Especially if we live in cloudy Poland or rainy London.
Cuba has so much to offer but we must be honest here. For a country with a coastline of 3700 km its beaches could have been more impressive. Also the infrastructure is not great. There are some amazing beaches out there but almost no way to get there. Public transport in Cuba is really limited. Imagine that the only way to get to the International Airport of Havana (the capital of a 10 million country) is taxi or a car!
That’s why sometimes a one day trip to a Cuban beach may be quite expensive. If you’ve been to another Caribbean island you saw that that it was so easy to get to the beach from any town. In Cuba you’ll find just few beach towns like Baracoa, Playa Girón or the suburbs of Havana. So basically you have two choices in Cuba: make day trips to one of the beaches or stay in the resorts.
What’s the difference? Well first of all, Cubans are not allowed in many of resorts. Some wouldn’t let them stay in the hotel or use the beach. Beaches are strictly reserved for hotel guests. What does that mean? Not much Cuba in Cuba I must say. I refuse to go to those places now. I don’t feel it’s fair I have more rights in Cuba than my husband who was born there.
The price is another thing. You may think it shouldn’t be that expensive because it’s a poor country. Well it’s quite expensive and what’s worse, Cuban standard is much lower than what you’re used to. So when booking a 4**** hotel remember than Cuban stars are bit different than ours.
Here’s what your beach options are in Cuba.
- Playas de La Habana. Beaches located both east and west from Havana. Plus – very local, available for everyone and very central. Easy to get from the city center. Minus – often close to the main roads and very busy.
- Cayo Jutias and Cayo Levisa (both 1 hour car ride from Viñales. The first one available for everyone, the second one because it’s located on the island and getting there involves a boat ride, available only for foreigners. The first one has no place to stay around, Cayo Levisa one has a hotel (the rates start from 144$/night). The ferry to Cayo Levisa runs daily from Palma Rubia seaport at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. (out of Cayo Levisa at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.) and takes 30 min. Hotel bookings made online include the transfer. If you don’t have it booked it will costs around 25CUC both way. Taxi from Viñales to Cayo Jutias and Palma Rubia will be 50/60 CUC (return).
- Playa de Ancón near Trinidad. One of my favorites. Really nice, not overcrowded and only 6/8 CUC taxi drive away from the town (depending on your negotiation skills 🙂 ). There’s a hotel available as well but you can ask the driver to leave you before the actual Playa de Ancón. The beach is much nicer and very quiet.
- Varadero. Famous Varadero. It has its airport so if you really want you don’t even have to see another parts of Cuba at all. Full of resorts but the town has some Casas Particulares available (bit more expensive than in another places in Cuba). Like I said before it’s good to relax for few days maybe, but that’s not what Cuba is all about. The big plus is that Varadero is very well communicated with another places in Cuba (bus from Havana costs only 10 CUC). Prices in Casas Particulares start from 40 CUC and in resorts from 100$.
- Los Cayos. Cuba has a lot of places called Cayos which means located on the island or peninsulas. The most famous ones are Cayo Coco, Cayo Santa Maria nd Cayo Guillermo. Very similar standard and beaches. All accessible by Viazul but also if you’re going to Cuba with an operator most probably you’ll stay in one of these places. Prices from 120$/night.
- Maria La Gorda. One of my favorites and one of most difficult to reach. The road to the beach goes through the tropical forest and the only toilet available on the way is quite challenging to use I must say. The beach is worth it but don’t expect an amazing standard. The beach is far away of everything so the food is not the best, there’s only few people working there but the sunsets over there will compensate everything (double room with breakfast 81$/night).
Which one will you choose? Don’t remember about the coconut water if you’re the healthy type or about your beer if you’re more simple like me and enjoy :)! The water is so warm over there and it never even on rainy days the summer comes up.